Bowl Reps Appear At Alabama Games

Not so much this week, but in recent weeks there has been a lot of conversation about Alabama having never produced a Heisman Trophy winner and the Crimson Tide perhaps having a Heisman candidate this year. Bama hasn't often been top shelf in Heisman conversation. Time is getting near when bowl talk begins, and that's where the Alabama name always has been prominent.

In great part because of bowl games—specifically the Rose Bowl and importantly because Alabama won so many of those games—the Crimson Tide is one of only a handful of truly national football teams. (There aren't as many as some might think.)

This year's Crimson Tide team became bowl eligible over two weeks ago when Bama got its sixth victory with a win over Ole Miss. It goes without saying that this Alabama football team, ranked second in the nation and now 8-0, is aiming higher than just being in a bowl game. Most believe the Tide and Florida are on a collision course for the national championship play-in game, the Southeastern Conference Championship Game, and from there perhaps to Pasadena for the Bowl Championship Series title game.

In the past few weeks a number of bowl representatives (including some representing the BCS Championship Game) have made their way to Tuscaloosa. There will be a large gathering of bowl representatives when Alabama returns to action a week from Saturday, hosting LSU. Bama is idle this weekend, then hosts LSU on November 7, a game that will be nationally televised by CBS beginning at 2:30 p.m. CST.

Alabama has more bowl appearances than any other team (56) and is tied with USC for bowl victories with 31. No one has a record in major bowls like Bama with a 4-1-1 record in the Rose Bowl, 8-5 in the Sugar Bowl, 4-4 in the Orange Bowl, and 3-4 in the Cotton Bowl.

For Alabama's win over Tennessee, the Bryant-Denny press box had representatives from the Sugar, Outback, Capital One, Chic-fil-A, and Music City bowls.

Here are some comments from the representatives:

What do you intend to accomplish with your mission visiting the schools during the football season?

Michael A. Monahan – Outback Bowl – Representative - "A couple of things. We are here to serve as ambassadors for the Outback Bowl and we are also here to take a look at prospective teams. Today we are here looking at Alabama and Tennessee. Two teams with great traditions, great coaches and great fan bases that we would love to have down in Tampa Bay on New Year's Day. If either one of these teams are chosen, we'd love to have all the people of Tennessee or Alabama come join us at the Outback Bowl."

Glen Conwell – Capital One Bowl – Selection Committee Member - "Just to see the crowd, the crowd involvment, get to meet the athletic department officials. Just a goodwill gesture and to see the enthusiasm of the people and how the teams interact with everybody."

Glen Conwell on convincing teams to come to their bowl. "You'd like to sell tickets. You try to get the most appeal nationwide with the television audience. It helps to have some tradition, a good history of ticket sales and a lot enthusiasm coming into the game."

Glen Conwell on the matchup and contract - "We have a unique situation with the Big Ten and the SEC. We generally have a great matchup every year. We just resigned that arrangement through 2014." Once the BSC picks are made the Capital One Bowl has the first selection of the two conferences.

Joe Kelley – Music City Bowl – Board Member, Selection Committee Member and Past Chairman "One just too some degree pay our respects to the conferences that our representing our bowl being the SEC and the Atlantic Coast Conference. We have certain picks that we have and some are above us and some are below us. Usually every year we have several choices in the process and obviously we like to check out the game and get to know the administration officials. We try to maintain a good partnership with all the institutions in the leagues. We don't go to all the games. This year Tennessee quite frankly with their current record could very well be a candidate for us."

Joe Kelley on attracting teams to the Music City Bowl - "The model that we have is based on having teams that travel well and bring people to the community and attend the game." They guard against inviting teams back in consecutive years.

Joe Kelley on unique relationship with host NFL team - "We have a very favorable relationship with the Titans in using the stadium. They usually go out of their way to work with us. That is very unusual for a professional team to do that."

Joe Kelley on extending the team affiliations - "We are in the process of renewing our relationships with the SEC and the ACC. I wouldn't say it's signed yet but is pretty much a foregone conclusion so the next four years we are off and running."

Joe Kelley on attractiveness of Nashville - "If you take a look at where Nashville is located and the footprint of those two conferences (ACC & SEC) it's a location the vast majority of the people save a Miami or a Boston College can really drive to the game." The research by the Music City Bowl indicates people would like to drive and spend 2-3-4 nights there instead of spending all their money on air transportation. Three interstates (65,40, 24) intersect Nashville providing ample opportunity and easy access to the game.

David B. Melius, President-Elect of the Allstate Sugar Bowl – "We are basically here in a public relations standpoint from our city. We visit with the athletic department and we come and watch games around the country just looking at matchups of teams. Obviously with the BCS in mind we are not at will to select teams as we want but we've had a long standing relationship with Alabama. They have been in our game many times and I'm sure they'll be back again at some point."

Ronald V. Burns, Sr. – Immediate Past President – Allstate Sugar Bowl – brother of UA Associate Head Coach/Running Backs – "It's mainly a PR visit. We get a chance to see the AD's of both schools, the coaching staffs and watch a good football game.

Albert I. Tarica – '63 UA graduate – Chick-fil-A Bowl - Executive Committee Member – "We want to get an idea of how they are playing and the crowd reaction and support for both teams because we have the most competitive bowl in the system. We try to get teams that have really good spirit and a good record to just have the Georgia Dome rock. It helps if they travel well."

Albert I. Tarica on attracting teams if they have a choice – "When it gets down to the end of the season we are going to look at all of the factors including head-to-head competition. We look at who ends up with the best record and who would represent the conference best in our bowl."

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